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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved judgment on allotment of plots to judges, bureaucrats and government employees of the Supreme Court in sectors, F-14 and F-15 of the federal capital.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on Monday heard the identical petitions and an intra-court appeal related to the housing schemes of the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA).

During the hearing, the federal secretary of housing and the director-general of the Federal Government Housing Authority (FGHA) appeared before the court.

Justice Minallah said the secretary had asked the court for time to formulate a policy of the federal government but in the meantime, the DG FGHA had filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Sector G-14 of Islamabad: Allottees urge PM, CJ, NAB chief to help retrieve their plots of land

The CJ asked the secretary to which order of the IHC he is affected? He added that you are saying something and doing something else. He questioned is it the right of civil servants to get a plot? He further said if it is the right of government employees, then all the government employees should get plots instead of only officers.

At this juncture, Advocate Akram Sheikh tried to speak but the IHC chief justice did not permit him.

The additional attorney general said the court decision was placed before the Cabinet and it constituted a committee in this regard.

The Secretary Housing said that the federal government had formulated a policy that only federal government employees will be given plots whereas, journalists, lawyers, and others have been excluded from the policy, adding seniority has been determined according to age.

Justice Kayani said judges were also not included when the plots were allotted to the employees of the federal government. The secretary housing replied that regarding the plots’ allotment to judges, relevant details/documents are sent to the authority through the chief justice’s registrar.

He added that the FGHA is now going to develop F-14, F-15, and Park Road, while the new sectors, G-12 and F-12 would also be developed.

Housing plots and the spoils system

The chief justice asked whether the federal cabinet had reviewed the matter. He further asked if a federal government employee who gets the plot, would he be able to sell it. He added that if so, then the money from the public treasury will go into the pockets of private citizens.

Justice Minallah said that how can they allow deprivation of basic rights of people? He also said that the plots should be allotted at market value; otherwise, it is an abuse of other citizens. He added that money should be used to build houses for the homeless workers. In the current scenario, about Rs3 billion would go from the public treasury to the pockets of private citizens. He said why they do not build a hospital with this money?

Advocate Akram Sheikh said that the federal secretary and the DG were summoned by telephone on Sunday.

The CJ said if the secretary and the DG were summoned on Sunday then what is wrong in it. There is no king and queen system here, this country is running under the Constitution. He added that if it was a matter of fundamental rights of the people, then the court would also be convened on Sunday.

The secretary said that in the policy, it has been decided to give plots to government employees who did not get plots in the first scheme. The chief justice replied that lower grade government employees were needier than others.

He asked why they should not be given plots. The secretary housing replied that according to the Capital Development Ordinance, plots of less than 10 marlas cannot be constructed in Sector F of the federal capital.

Justice Minallah also asked if it was not a conflict of interest that the housing authority gave one plot to each of its members. The secretary said that the board members had not decided to take the plots. The IHC CJ remarked that a plot of Rs50m was being given for Rs0.4million. The government has forcibly taken lands from people and they have not received any compensation to date.

He added that judges and bureaucrats are for the service of the people and are accountable to the people and they are sitting here on their money.

The IHC bench reserved judgment after hearing the arguments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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